Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Immanuel-God With Us

Pastor Weie's Sermon - The Baptism of Our Lord

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Immanuel—God With Us

Isaiah 7.10-14/St Matthew 1.18-25

Christmas Eve/December 24, 2018

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          Tonight—

God’s promise of a Savior is fulfilled—

Jesus Christ is born.

 

Hundreds of years before his birth—

God made this promise to us—

Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.                                                                                                   (Isaiah 7.14)

 

            And on this night—

some 2000 years ago—

God kept his promise

and fulfilled his Word

when Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.

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II         Since Advent began

we’ve been praying—

O Come, O Come, Immanuel.

Tonight

our prayer is answered—

Immanuel has come.

St. Matthew tells us

Immanuel means—

God With Us

Jesus is Immanuel

God With Us.

 

III       At its heart

Christmas is about

God’s promise to be with us always.

In       Genesis, chapter 28.

Deuteronomy , chapter 31.

Joshua, chapter 1.

Matthew, chapter 28.

Hebrews, chapter 13—

over and over and over again—

God promises to be with us and never forsake us.

Jesus’ birth—

is the fulfillment of that sacred promise.

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IV        Christmas is a time

when we try to be together

with family and friends and all those we love.

 

For some of us

that’s just not possible because of how far we are from our families.

So we do what we can—

we

call one another

or

face-time

or at least send

cards

and

letters

and

presents

through the mail.

 

For others, though—

it’s impossible to be with loved ones

because certain loved ones are no longer with us—

they now rest in the peace of heaven.

 

V         No one

wants to be alone at Christmas.

And thanks be to God—

the promise of Christmas—

the promise of Christ—

is that we are NEVER alone.

 

Here in this place—

we celebrate Christmas with all the saints.

 

We celebrate

with our families who are spread out all over the country—

with our fellow believers all over the world—

even with all our beloved dead who have gone before us into glory.

Together with them –

in the communion of saints—

we sing our praise

and

we raise our prayers

and

we receive the newborn Christ

as he comes to us in our flesh and as our Lord.

 

 

Here in this place

all our fellow believers in Christ—

ALL OF THEM—

are gathered together with us.

 

all the saints of every age

who have gone before us into glory

are gathered together with us.

 

the angels who sang at Jesus’ birth—

the shepherd who knelt down and worshipped baby Jesus—

Joseph who marveled at the birth of the Lord—

and

Mary who pondered all these things in her heart—

they’re all here—

singing with us

praying with us

rejoicing with us

at the birth of Immanuel—

Our God Who Is With Us!

 

And best of all

Christ is here with us.

 

Here in this place

he brings heaven down to us

even as he brought heaven down to that stable in Bethlehem

when he was born on Christmas night.

And he comes with this promise—

he will take you to be with him in heaven—

where you will never be alone.

 

Here in this place—

Immanuel—our Lord Jesus Christ who was born this night—

Here in this place

he comes to us

he stays with us

and

he promises never to leave us nor forsake us.

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VI        Christmas is God’s promise

that he has come TO YOU

and will never leave you.

 

Christmas is God’s promise

that he has sent his Son

to be present with you

in good times and in bad.

in sickness and in health

in prosperity and poverty

in joy and sorrow

and

in everything in between.

 

Christmas is God’s promise

that your loved ones who now rest in peace

are also glorifying God with you this very moment.

 

Christmas is God’s promise

that your family who is far from this place

is near to you in their faith

and in the celebration of the Word Made Flesh this very night.

 

Christmas is God’s promise

that Jesus is God with YOU—

and he will never leave you nor forsake you.

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VII      Christ—

Immanuel—

is with us.

 

On this night, two thousand and eighteen years ago

he was born of the Virgin Mary

he was laid down to sleep in a manger

he was glorified by the angels of heaven

and

he was worshipped by the shepherds of Bethlehem.

 

And on THIS night—at this very moment—

he is right here

with you

for you

and

in your heart

just as he has promised—

and he is here to stay.

 

VIII    Christ will never leave you.

Christ will never forsake you.

Christ will always be with you—

and you will always be with him.

 

That’s the promise of Christmas—

God has come

in the flesh

to be with

you

and

me

and

all his people.

God has come

in the flesh

to give us his joy

to comfort us in our loneliness

and

to give us a share of his heavenly glory.

 

God has come

in the flesh

to forgive our sins

to conquer the devil

to lift us up when are bowed down

and

to open the way into heaven for us all.

 

God has come

in the flesh—

and his name is Jesus Christ.

 

He is the promised Immanuel.

He is our God With Us—

and he will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

Blessed Christmas to you all.

Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Hymn of Response:  From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

 

 

 

 

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